Robert Mueller works for the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is constitutionally required to report to Congress, who is constitutionally required to represent the rest of us. Therefore, Robert Mueller works for us. His investigation was paid for by our tax dollars. He is legally required to report to a man who reports to our representatives who report to us. He is not some opaque demigod overseeing an exorcism, but a public servant working on the most high-profile legal case of our time. Robert Mueller is a vital figure in our democracy, and dropping a 400-plus page report on an investigation that captivated the nation, then slinking away into the darkness without elaborating on his findings is a slap in the face to all of us who have followed this madness over the last two years.
CNN’s Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju, reported that “Robert Mueller’s team has expressed reticence to him testifying publicly in front of the House Judiciary Committee, according to sources familiar with the matter. His team has expressed that he does not want to appear political.”
This explanation, frankly, is BS. I’ll let lawyer/contributor to Yahoo, Slate and JustSecurity, Luppe Luppen, explain why.
At the absolute bare minimum, Robert Mueller has a requirement to testify in private to Congress. That shouldn’t even be up for debate. A public testimony shouldn’t be either, because he essentially made an impeachment referral to Congress when he wrote this in the Mueller Report:
“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.”
The Mueller Report was split in to two sections: “collusion” and obstruction of justice. On the latter, Robert Mueller concluded that the evidence rose to a level where the only legal determination on its legality can be made by an entity with more authority than a special counsel who’s jurisdiction is basically the President of the United States. How do you not pay a visit to the powerful governing body you kicked the investigation over to, and have a chat about what you found?
Despite what you may have heard on MSNBC or #resistance Twitter, Robert Mueller is not our hero, as retired FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division legal counsel of the FBI, Coleen Rowley, wrote in The Huffington Post shortly after Robert Mueller was appointed in 2017:
Commentators display amnesia when they describe former FBI Directors Robert Mueller and James Comey as stellar and credible law enforcement figures. Perhaps if they included J. Edgar Hoover, such fulsome praise could be put into proper perspective. Although these Hoover successors, now occupying center stage in the investigation of President Trump, have been hailed for their impeccable character by much of official Washington, the truth is, as top law enforcement officials of the Bush administration (Mueller as FBI Director and James Comey as Deputy Attorney General), both presided over post-9/11 cover-ups and secret abuses of the Constitution, enabled Bush-Cheney fabrications to launch wrongful wars, and exhibited plain vanilla incompetence.
Long before he became FBI Director, serious questions existed about Mueller’s role as Acting U.S. Attorney in Boston in effectively enabling decades of corruption and covering up of the FBI’s illicit deals with mobster Whitey Bulger and other “top echelon” informants who committed numerous murders and crimes. When the truth was finally uncovered through intrepid investigative reporting and persistent, honest judges, U.S. taxpayers footed a $100 million court award to the four men framed for murders committed by (the FBI operated) Bulger gang.
Current media applause omits the fact that former FBI Director Mueller was the top official in charge of the Anthrax terror fiasco investigation into the 2001 murders, which targeted an innocent man (Steven Hatfill) whose lawsuit eventually forced the FBI to pay $5 million in compensation. Mueller’s FBI was also severely criticized by Department of Justice Inspector Generals finding the FBI overstepped the law improperly serving hundreds of thousands of “national security letters” to obtain private (and irrelevant) metadata on citizens, and for infiltrating nonviolent anti-war groups under the guise of investigating “terrorism.”
Robert Mueller is a W.-era figure, so it should be no surprise to see W.-style secrecy out of him. We lionized Mueller because we are desperate to find some way to rid ourselves of this orange banshee haunting our collective psyche—plus, Trump is so transparently criminal, we all assumed that if we saw the shenanigans going on, then surely the former head of the FBI would too. Instead, Mueller mostly cleared Trump on collusion, and let plenty of others off the hook too—like Jeff Sessions—who Mueller said did not commit perjury despite being a lying liar who lies because Sessions successfully used the most cynical loophole that our “justice” system has to offer: “I do not recall.”
Trump is a symptom of America’s larger structural issues, and a special counsel putting his own personal brand over his duty to inform his bosses (and their bosses) is emblematic of those larger structural issues. Power simply has a separate set of rules in this country. That’s what Robert Mueller’s investigation uncovered when it comes to financial fraud—and it would be such a perfectly American ending to this ordeal for Robert Mueller to follow Trump’s lead in also declaring himself to be above the democratic responsibilities required of someone with that much power. Mueller owes the public a testimony that emphasizes his findings, otherwise, he is letting the media and Trump’s army of liars characterize a wildly complex 400-plus page report that he spent two years of his life on.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.